List of Systems of Plant Taxonomy

This list of systems of plant taxonomy presents “taxonomic systems” used in plant classification.

A taxonomic system is a coherent whole of taxonomic judgments on circumscription and placement of the considered taxa. It is only a “system” if it is applied to a large group of such taxa (for example, all the flowering plants).

There are two main criteria for this list. A system must be taxonomic, that is deal with a large number of plants, by their botanical names. Secondly it must be a system, i.e. deal with the relationships of plants. Although thinking about relationships of plants had started much earlier (see history of plant systematics), such systems really only came into being in the 19th century, as a result of an ever increasing influx from all over the world of newly discovered plant species. The 18th century saw some early systems, which are perhaps precursors rather than full taxonomic systems.

A milestone event was the publication of Species Plantarum by Linnaeus which serves as the starting point of binomial nomenclature for plants. By its size this would qualify to be on this list, but it does not deal with relationships, beyond assigning plants into genera.

Note that a system is not necessarily monolithic and often goes through several stages of development, resulting in several versions of the same system. When a system is widely adopted, many authors will adopt their own particular version of the system. The Cronquist system is well known for existing in many versions.

  • de Jussieu system
    A.L. de Jussieu (1789). Genera Plantarum, secundum ordines naturales disposita juxta methodum in Horto Regio Parisiensi exaratam.
    (available online at Gallica)
  • de Candolle system
    A. P. de Candolle (2nd edition, 1819). Théorie élémentaire de la botanique, ou exposition des principes de la classification naturelle et de l’art de décrire et d’etudier les végétaux.
    A. P. de Candolle et al. (1824–1873). Prodromus systemati naturalis regni vegetabilis sive enumeratio contracta ordinum, generum specierumque plantarum huc usque cognitarum, juxta methodi naturalis normas digesta.
    (available online at Gallica)
  • Bentham & Hooker system
    G. Bentham & J.D. Hooker (three volumes, 1862–1883). Genera plantarum ad exemplaria imprimis in herbariis kewensibus servata definita.
    (available online at Gallica)
  • Baillon system
    H. Baillon (thirteen volumes, 1867–1894). Histoire des plantes.
  • Eichler system
    Eichler (1883; 3rd edition). Syllabus der Vorlesungen über Phanerogamenkunde.
  • Engler system (also see Phylogenetic System)
    A. Engler & K. Prantl (1887–1915; 2nd edition, 1924–). Die Natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien.
  • Dalla Torre & Harms system
    K.W. von Dalla Torre & H. Harms (1900–1907). Genera Siphonogamarum, ad systema Englerianum conscripta.
  • Bessey system
    Charles E. Bessey (1915). "The phylogenetic taxonomy of flowering plants". Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden (Missouri Botanical Garden Press) 2 (1/2): 109–164. doi:10.2307/2990030. JSTOR 2990030.
  • Wettstein system
    R. Wettstein (in two volumes, 1901-1908; 2nd edition, 1911; 3rd edition, 1923-24; 4th edition, 1933-35). Handbuch der systematischen Botanik.
  • Hutchinson system
    J. Hutchinson (two volumes, 1926–1934; 2nd edition 1959; 3rd edition, 1973). The families of flowering plants, arranged according to a new system based on their probable phylogeny.
  • Melchior system
    H. Melchior (1964). Adolf Engler. ed. Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien (12th edition, II. Band ed.). (also known as modified Engler system, in Angiospermae)
  • Takhtajan system
    A. Takhtajan (in Russian, 1966). A system and phylogeny of the flowering plants.
    A. Takhtajan (1969, transl. from Russian by C. Jeffrey). Flowering plants: origin and dispersal. ISBN 0-05-001715-2.
    A. Takhtajan (1980). "Outline of the classification of flowering plants (Magnoliophya)". Botanical Review 46 (3): 225–359. doi:10.1007/BF02861558.
    A. Takhtajan (1997). Diversity and classification of flowering plants. ISBN 0-231-10098-1.
  • Cronquist system
    A. Cronquist (1968; 2nd edition 1988). The evolution and classification of flowering plants. ISBN 0-89327-332-5.
    A. Cronquist (1981). An integrated system of classification of flowering plants. ISBN 0-231-03880-1.
  • Goldberg system
    Aaron Goldberg (1986). "Classification, Evolution and Phylogeny of the Families of Dicotyledons". Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 58: 1–314. (available online: Full text (PDF) here)
    Aaron Goldberg (1989). "Classification, Evolution and Phylogeny of the Families of Monocotyledons". Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 71: 1–73. (available online: Full text (PDF) here)
  • Dahlgren system
    R.M.T. Dahlgren (1975). "A system of classification of angiosperms to be used to demonstrate the distribution of characters". Bot. Notiser 128: 119–147.
    R.M.T. Dahlgren (1980). "A revised system of classification of angiosperms". Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 80 (2): 91–124. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1980.tb01661.x.
    R.M.T. Dahlgren (1983). "General Aspects of Angiosperm Evolution and Macrosystematics". Nordic Journal of Botany 3: 119–149. doi:10.1111/j.1756-1051.1983.tb01448.x.
    R.M.T. Dahlgren & al. (1985). The families of the monocotyledons: structure, evolution, and taxonomy. ISBN 0-387-13655-X.
    G. Dahlgren (1989). "An updated Angiosperm Classification". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 100 (3): 197–203. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1989.tb01717.x.
  • Thorne system (1992) (also see, Thorne system, 2000)
    R.F. Thorne (1968). "Synopsis of a putative phylogenetic classification of flowering plants". Aliso 6 (4): 57–66.
    R.F. Thorne (1983). "Proposed new alignments in the angiosperms". Nordic J. Bot. 3: 85–117. doi:10.1111/j.1756-1051.1983.tb01447.x.
    R.F. Thorne (1992). "Classification and geography of flowering plants". Botanical Review 58 (3): 225–348. doi:10.1007/BF02858611.
    R.F. Thorne (1992). "An updated phylogenetic classification of the flowering plants". Aliso 13: 365–389.
    R.F. Thorne (2000). "The classification and geography of the flowering plants: dicotyledons of the class Angiospermae". Botanical Review 66 (4): 441–647. doi:10.1007/BF02869011.
  • Kubitzki system (1990- )
    K. Kubitzki & al. (1990 ongoing). The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants.
  • Reveal system (?)
  • APG system
    'APG I' (1998)
    APG (1998). "An ordinal classification for the families of flowering plants". Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden (Missouri Botanical Garden Press) 85 (4): 531–553. doi:10.2307/2992015. JSTOR 2992015.
    W.S. Judd & al. (1999; 2nd edition, 2002). Plant systematics: a phylogenetic approach. ISBN 0-87893-403-0.
    APG II (2003)
    APG (2003). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG II". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 141 (4): 399–436. doi:10.1046/j.1095-8339.2003.t01-1-00158.x.
    (Available online: Abstract | Full text (HTML) | Full text (PDF))
    APG III (2009)
    APG (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III.". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2): 399–436. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x.
    (Available online: )
  • Shipunov system (2005)
    (Available online: Full text PDF )

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